As we all stay healthier for longer, it seems we are also staying friskier. The latest figures show 53% of over-65s are still enjoying sex, and 26% of over-75s. In fact, for over-70s in a relationship, 34% still have sex once a week.

That’s great news for many of us as we get older, and the rise is partly down to new treatments for vaginal dryness in women and erectile dysfunction in men.

The positives

Having sex later in life is very positive for many people. It can:
  • Relieve pain by releasing endorphins
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower the risk of prostate cancer in men
  • Reduce problems of incontinence
  • Release human growth hormones that help us look younger
  • Improve our general quality of life

The negatives

However, it’s not all good news. We are now seeing a corresponding 23% increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) amongst over-65s. Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis are soaring, and are often going undiagnosed in older age groups.

The soaring number of STIs amongst over-65s must be addressed. If not treated in a timely manner syphilis in older people, for example, can cause severe complications such as genital ulcers and chronic damage to the cardiovascular and nervous system. In the last four years alone there has been a 20% growth in the number of over-65s being treated for:
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes simplex
  • Hepatitis B
  • Trichomoniasis
That’s just the cases that are being successfully diagnosed and treated. There are thousands more over-65s who are either entirely unaware they have an STI or are too embarrassed to go to their GP with their symptoms.
Why the rise in STIs?

One of the key reasons for spiralling STI cases amongst older people is that, once childbearing years have passed, many do not realise that they should continue to use condoms, but now to avoid STIs, rather than unplanned pregnancies.
Contributing factors to the increase in cases include limited knowledge of STIs amongst older people, unsafe sexual practises, limited sexual health services aimed specifically at older adults, increased longevity and being widowed. Studies suggest that older adults infected with STIs are more likely to present late to their GP and are at increased risk of getting complications than younger adults.

Getting a simple blood test

If you are older person, it can be difficult to present to your GP to talk about sexual health problems. However, there is an alternative option, our sexual health blood tests are available through the post for people to take in their own home. They are easy to carry out and the results are sent directly to the person being tested and not shared with any other person, medical service or company.

Our simple blood tests will reveal the presence of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV 1&2 and Syphilis. In most cases, negative results will help put your mind at rest, but, if you do have a positive result, experts are available to discuss this with you if you choose.

For women our Female Sexual Health - Advanced Screen blood and vaginal swab test provides a fast and simple way to check up on your sexual health

And for men our Male Sexual Health - Advanced Screen blood and urine test

Find the blood test right for you